The fifth and final season of Fox’s Fringe begins September 28. I am interested to see where the story will go, sad that it is ending, but glad it lasted five seasons and has a chance to plan its end.
The more fanatical fans were at Comic-Con this month to see and hear the actors (Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson and John Noble) and the executive producer (J.H. Wyman) and try to tease out clues about the show.
The season 5 teaser poster (above) and a few clues dropped seems to confirm to fans that this final season is set in the dystopian future that we saw in last season’s excellent episode “Letters of Transit.” Our world (because there is that other Earth in the show too) is about to be taken over by the time traveling “Observers” from the future who have been watching and helping (or, perhaps, not helping) the main characters. Which means that the lead characters must find some way here in the present to stop the take-over from happening. Or they will have to find some way to overthrow the Observers in the future.
Fringe is known for taking some story risks. Time jumps, world jumps.
It works for the fans. It probably has worked against the show for others who may have felt like they had missed so much background that they couldn’t catch up (Even with watch entire seasons of the show available on DVDs and streaming – which seems to be the preferred way of viewing a series for a lot of people these days.)
Then there is the difficulty factor. I don’t know that audiences are willing to invest much thought into TVprograms (if they ever were willing to). I enjoy watching comedies like Big Bang Theory too, and that’s partially because I don’t have to invest in maintaining a mental database of characters or checking a wiki for the series to check character and references.
The “Letters of Transit” episode seems like the primer for this final season. When it aired in April 2012, I found it a bit out of place. I liked it a lot. A well done episode, but it didn’t quite fit into the rest of the episodes before it. It is set in the future, where the Observers have taken control of human society. It’s 2036, and two FBI agents are trying to free their world of the Observers by finding the amber-encased bodies of the original Fringe team.
These Observers are bald-headed, pale men that appeared in all the episodes, sometimes fleetingly. They wear black suits and fedora hats, and have no eyebrows. They are quiet and interact only minimally with other people, but they seem to show up before significant events in history. They have advanced technology and their own written alphabet. They have a diminished sense of taste and are seen adding a lot of spices to food so that it has a taste.
At first, they only watched, but in 2015 they stopped watching… and seized control. Those of “us” who survived the revolution became known as “Natives” and some became “Loyalists” marked by the Observers. The original Fringe team fought, was defeated, but Fringe Division was allowed to continue in a reduced role to police the Natives.
But, like real world revolution, there remains a small resistance group.
If you have never watched, I think you can jump into this season and just treat it as a new story.